Most know of the first of July being Canada Day but now it is also the day of another historic moment. On that same day Canada celebrated its 149th birthday, Canadian tea came to life and finally was shared with the world. Last year I wrote a featured piece for Fresh Cup magazine’s May issue on Canada’s first tea farm, Westholme Tea Farm (formally known as Teafarm) and I have been following their six year journey closely, awaiting for this day to come.
If you ever found yourself doubting the idea of tea grown in Canada, the country where some think we all live in igloos and don’t have any other season but Winter, now is the time to be more open minded and amazed. Right now, Westholme Tea Farm offers two different organic teas that they harvested and processed themselves in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island.
Tree Frog Green (left in picture above) was named from the songs from the Pacific Tree Frog that were heard in the meadows and wetlands surrounding the tea farm. It consists of thousands of carefully hand plucked tender leaves and buds.
Swallow Tale Oolong (right in picture above) gets its name from the the swallows that settle at the farm in late Spring and graced the sky during the first harvest. This oolong is semi-oxidized and pan roasted.
After my featured piece on Canada’s tea farm in Fresh Cup Magazine, I followed it with a story on Margit’s one-of-a-kind handmade ceramics. Her “homes for tea”. Towards the end of our chat, Margit shared that she would love to create teaware that would be used to serve their Canadian tea in one day. I’m happy to hear and see that those who enjoyed the tea on the Canada Day weekend did so in her beautiful work devoted just to the tea. Imagine indulging in tea that was grown right there, and served to you in a cup that was hand built on site, too. A fabulous way to celebrate Canada’s tea culture!
Unfortunately, I have yet to taste the single origin, pure Canadian tea myself. I have been saving for a trip up to the Cowichan Valley to experience Canadian tea right on the farm it called home for years, but hope to try it at my own home soon, especially since I’ve heard many incredible things about it. I was genuinely curious what others were thinking about the taste of tea grown in Canada so, of course, I asked around and everyone got back to me with positive reviews. Many are already in love with both the green and oolong Canadian tea and many couldn’t wait to share their thoughts. Here are what a few of those lucky tasters had to say about their Canadian tea experience.
– Canadian Tea Reviews –
“Their Tree Frog Green Spring Harvest is a Japanese style green tea with a balanced vegetal flavour of fresh pea shoots and asparagus that pleasantly coats the tongue. We were very impressed and so lucky to have been a part of this historic event. We’re equally excited about their Swallow Tale Oolong that is 60% oxidized with flavours similar to Oriental Beauty. It definitely has the wow factor for us oolong lovers!”
“I love the setting of the tea shop/studio with the Japanese maple, pottery and jazz music when I got there. The green tea is clean and fresh. I like the oolong with its warm, smooth taste. It was certainly a worthwhile experience to hear the owners, Victor and Margit, talking about their journey in growing and processing tea in Canada.”
“I found the Tree Frog Green to be light, fresh and smooth. The Swallow Tale Oolong was earthier, but rich and smooth. I brought some green tea home and plan to pick up some oolong!”
“I’ve been a steady supporter of the tea farm for the past 7 years and my brothers were lucky enough to aid them in some of the planting and care-taking of the trees. Margot and Victor are the most hardworking and dedicated people I know and their perseverance and passion for tea displays through their business which has flourished the past several years. I was blessed to have the opportunity to be able to sample their beautiful teas, which will remain a sacred part of my life. I was able to imbibe their Swallow Tale Oolong which has a very distinct flavour like no other. It begins with smokey smooth notes and finishes off with a subtly sweet after taste, almost as if there’s a dab of maple syrup mixed within the leaves. The Tree Frog Green is an entirely different experience, for it is a concoction of many beautiful fresh, earthy tones which I’m still finding difficult to put into words. Both teas are a journey of their own which one must experience at least once in their lifetime.”
“I tried both the Swallow Tale Oolong and the Tree Frog Green tea. I would have loved both in a blind tasting. The oolong was so smooth, still decadent on the second steep and a bit smoky with a slightly sweet finish. The green was fresh, biting but beautifully textured, gentle on the palate the second round (but I like the complexity of the first). Knowing the sleepless toiling that went into the tea and clay production, I’m completely and utterly amazed.”
“It was fascinating. Victor and Margit are delightful, entertaining and so passionate about their farm. For the tea itself, I preferred the Swallow Tale Oolong because I am a committed black tea lover and the flavour was close to my favourite black teas. Both were earthy in the best possible sense. I also loved the ceremony that went into preparing the tea for us.”
– Liz King
If you’re interested in trying Canadian tea for yourself, their Spring harvest is still available. If you have the opportunity to head to Vancouver Island and try it right on site that would be awesome. However, you can also contact Victor and Margit directly by email or phone to place an order to be shipped to your door! Find out more details and pricing here.
Have you tasted the fresh Canadian tea yet? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments!